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Menu Plan for Spring II: Week 7, Saturday

Artichokes with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken on Pimiento Sauce
Risotto with Fava Beans

Cooking time:  60 minutes for menu        Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

    Fava or broad beans are a sign of spring that I almost forgot about... They are so fleeting here. They're a bit of work (like fresh peas) to prepare so I use them in risottos or pastas, rather than on their own.  You can substitute edamame (fresh soy beans) if you like - same color, similar taste and texture.  For this dinner, we stood around the cook top in the kitchen, nibbling the artichokes, sipping wine and stirring the risotto...

Artichokes with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

Total time: 55 minutes
     The artichokes take 40  - 50 minutes to steam. This can be done anytime and the artichokes can be served warm or cold. Have a small, sharp knife handy so that when you get all of the leaves off and are at the fuzzy choke you can cut it off and enjoy the bottom.... and put an extra bowl on the table for the 'used' leaves.

Artichokes with Balsamic Vinegar  Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breasts on Pimiento Sauce

Total time: 40 minutes
     These are easy to make: slice a pocket, fill and tie.  The Prosciutto wrapping infuses the chicken with flavor and helps keep it moist.  The Pimiento Sauce adds just a bit of spice to it.

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breasts on Pimiento Sauce Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Risotto with Fava (Broad) Beans 

Total time: 25 minutes
    Another classic Italian dish for spring.  It would normally be served as a first course (as are all pasta and rice dishes in Italy) but I like it as creamy side dish.  Fava beans are only with us a short time in the spring.  

Risotto with Fava (Broad) Beans  Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Peel fava beans: It's a bit like peas.  Break open the pod and take the beans out.  Don't bother with any really tiny ones.  Blanch in rapidly boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and put into cold water.  After blanching they will have a whitish outer shell.  Just squeeze lightly and the inner, bright green bean will pop out.  It may split in half... that's okay.

Cooking Schedule: 60 minutes
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
large pot, steamer rack, small bowl, whisk, large
skillet or barbecue grill, small sauce pan, 2 medium
saucepans (1 used 2 x), blender, kitchen string
Trim artichokes, steam
Heat water for blanching fava beans
Remove beans from pods
Blanch beans
Refresh beans in cold water
Pop beans out of shell, set aside
Turn on/light barbecue grill if using
Slice chicken breasts
Slice cheese
Stuff chicken with cheese
Roll in Prosciutto, tie with kitchen string
Purée pimientos
Put pimientos in saucepan, gently warm
Grate Parmesan
Make vinaigrette for artichokes
Trim, slice green garlic

Remove artichokes
Serve artichokes - casually, in the kitchen
Pour a nice, crisp white wine
Sauté rice, green garlic
    Nibble artichoke
Add wine to rice, stir
Start to cook chicken
    Nibble artichoke
Add stock to rice, stir
     Nibble artichoke, stir rice
Add stock, fava beans to rice, stir
     Nibble artichoke, stir rice
Turn chicken, cover, cook
Add stock to rice, stir
     Nibble artichoke, stir rice
Finish pimiento sauce
Keep on until everything is done
Stir cheese into risotto
Remove chicken, remove string
Spoon Pimiento sauce on 2 plates
Lay chicken on sauce
Spoon risotto into a pretty bowl, serve

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